Sinn Fein spokesperson on Mental Health, Mark Ward is delighted that his Bill “The Mental Health Parity of Esteem” passed second stage recently. This piece of legislation aims to compel a change in attitudes towards mental health at the highest level of policy making and governance. Teachta Ward said: “I’m delighted that the Mental Health Parity of Esteem Bill received cross party support and will now go to committee stage for legislative scrutiny. “I have engaged with stakeholders right across the spectrum of mental health since becoming Sinn Fein’s mental health spokesperson and the issue of parity was raised regularly”
“For too long mental health has been the Cinderella of the health services and what this Bill does it places mental health on the same level as physical health. “This Bill will pave the way for 24/7 access to emergency mental health services. “Mental Health issues do not just occur between 9am and 5pm Monday to Friday and magically reappear after the weekend. “If I hurt the outside of my head and have to attend hospital, I will be treated with the appropriate aftercare, however if I have an issue going on inside my head I will not receive the same level of treatment. “This piece of legislation also aims to compel a change in attitudes towards mental health at the highest level of policy making and governance. If change occurs at this level it will filter down to all levels of society. “While this Bill is not a panacea to all the systemic problems in mental health provisions it will go along way in putting mental health at the very forefront of overall health policy.